Last year at IFA 2013, the Smartwatch craze really begun. Sure we had the Pebble and Sony’s Smartwatch before that. But the Galaxy Gear is what brought it into the spotlight. Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear at IFA last year, then about 6 months later they announced 3 new smartwatches with the Galaxy S5. That’s the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear 2 Fit. These three smartwatches dumped Android for Tizen, which is Samsung’s own OS they are trying to get off the ground. Then there was the Gear Live announced at Google I/O, which runs on Android Wear. That brings us to five smartwatches. Now at IFA earlier this month – last week actually – Samsung announced another smartwatch. The Gear S. Which is another Tizen smartwatch, with a larger curved display. So now you have 6 smartwatches in the course of a year with three different OS on board. So What’s next for Samsung? Will they stick with just Tizen, or Android Wear or both?
As much as we give Samsung crap about “gadget spam” right now it’s kind of expected. As smartwatches are brand new to these OEMs, we’re seeing them learning from their mistakes and fixing them with each new version of the device. Which is why we’re seeing OEMs pushing out new smartwatches twice a year or sooner. Which right now is a good thing, but then looking at Samsung, I figure they’ll be doing this for years to come. As they do with their smartphones and tablets. I do like the way that Samsung’s Gear S and Gear Fit looks, and works, but the thing that kept me from buying either is that they are only compatible with Samsung smartphones and tablets out of the box. And for me, I am always switching phones for reviews, etc., so having a smartwatch that only works with Samsung’s products, is not good for me. Which is why I’m sticking with Android Wear.
I have a feeling that Samsung is going to keep their Tizen smartwatches in the future, and treat Android Wear like they do Windows Phone. Where Android Wear will get the leftovers from the Tizen-based smartwatches. Which we already saw that with the Gear Live, where it was basically the Gear 2 Neo but with a different clasp. Now that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it’d still be nice to see an Android Wear smartwatch from Samsung that was different from their Tizen ones, and something unique. As we do have some really nice looking smartwatches coming out of Samsung’s competitors these days like the LG G Watch R, the Moto 360 and even the ASUS Zenwatch.
The smartwatch space is growing and still pretty new. We should see it mature in about a year or so, and it’s going to be really interesting to see what manufacturers bring to the table with their own Smartwatch, whether it be Android Wear or another OS.